Intelligent conversation with a real friend.

Intelligent conversation with a real friend.

Decided over the Fourth of July weekend to reduce involvement in so-called, and misnamed, “social media” on the Internet.

Social media, especially the online farce called Facebook, is an online sewer, a gathering ground for misfits, the angry and perpetrators of hate, bias and disrespect.

I’ve withdrawn from so-called “groups” with questionable names like “Floyd Uncensored” because the exchange of “information” became a morass of obscenity shouting, bias baiting and juvenile shenanigans that have no place in what is supposed to be civilized society.

I’ve also seriously pruned a misnamed “friends” list to rid it of those who think liberal use of four-letter cuss words and less than subtle threats is proof of a maturity that too many lack.

My Facebook membership, which dates back to the early days of Mark Zukckerburg’s creation, continues, partly because membership is necessary to converse on sites like The Roanoke Times and also because a list of real and actual friends allows communication at levels that far too many others cannot fathom or understand.  I still belong to gatherings like the original “Floyd Group” that have a purpose stick to their goals.

Facebook, sadly, is just the latest example of the coarseness of current society, one that festered in the early days of the World Wide Web on free-for-all forum sites like Free Republic, Democratic Underground and other repositories of hate, misinformation and abuse.

Such misuse, of course, is not limited to online activities. Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olberman and Sean Hannity use hate and misdirected facts as tools of their trades in broadcasts.

Face-to-face conversations are replaced with profane texts via smartphones.  I find myself intentionally “forgetting” my iPhone more and more and revel in motorcycle rides with without communications vibrating on my hip or blasting into my Bluetooth headset in my helmet.

Over breakfast at Blue Ridge Restaurant last week, I saw at least half of those dining messaging on their phones.  Mine was turned off and locked in the console of my Wrangler.  The battery died because it sat there for nearly a week as I conveniently “forgot” about it.

I was an early member of the “wired” generation, using Wi-FI at coffee shops, airports and even truck stops to stay in touch, update web sites and file photos and stories on assignments.

Now I spend more and more untethered time.  I don’t text and anyone who tried to contact me via text often finds I never see the message or just ignore it.

Whenever possible, I prefer face-to-face conversations over coffee at a local restaurant or talking with another Harley rider at a rest stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Want to talk or discuss something either important or mundane?  I have breakfast most mornings at Blue Ridge.  I eat lunch at Mickey G’s, the Floyd Country Store, Tuggles Gap or other local spots.  I’m on the streets of Floyd on Friday nights or photographing or filming at the Friday Night Jamboree.

School starts next month.  I will be at football games, volleyball matches and more, photographing sports actions for The Floyd Press.

Try coming by and starting a conversation.  It used to be how people interacted and conversed.

For me, at least, it will be that way again.